Work Zone Traffic Safety Essentials

Learn more about all the work zone traffic safety essentials and how they can be used to protect construction workers on the roadways.


There’s no doubt that outdoor traffic work zones come with a range of possible risks and dangers. From the threat of passing cars and inclement weather, to the prevalence of heavy duty equipment—there are plenty of areas where a lot could go wrong. Below we’ve detailed some useful information about key products and things to consider in hazardous traffic work zones, including both indoor and outdoor applications.


The Elements of Traffic Safety For Work Zones

Traffic Cones:

When it comes to traffic cones, you have a range of options and brands to choose from. Traditional PVC cones are used for a number of purposes, including controlling traffic flow, warning of hazards in dangerous situations, marking off restricted areas, and even providing safety messages (by hanging signs from the cone). We carry multiple traditional cone brands, including JBC cones, which we recommend due to their excellent resistance to fading.

TrafFix Grabber™ cones are made of flexible, low-density polyethylene to allow for rebounding and reshaping, making this cone an excellent option. Compared to traditional cones, Grabber cones are much easier to move and stack, and, for this reason, are often preferred in many construction work zones.


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Like traffic cones, barricades you choose for traffic safety should be dependent on the application.

Type I, Type II, and Type III barricades can be used to signal road detours, road closings, and more. The number rating denotes how many reflective rails each type of sign has (for example, a Type II sign has two reflective rails). Type I signs are used for pedestrian traffic control and low-speed roadways; Type II are better for nighttime usage and on higher speed roads, such as expressways; and Type III barricades are typically used for road closings. Due to their larger size and the fact that they feature a two-sided reflective board, A-frame barricades are also popularly used for road closures or crowd control.

TrafFix is one of our recommended suppliers of barricades.


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Roll-Up Traffic Signs:

Did you know that studies have shown that signs that warn of dangers and hazards in the workplace and in outdoor work zones can reduce accident rates as much as 80%? Do you have the signage you need to properly mitigate these dangers?

Depending on the environment in which the sign or label will be placed, we offer a variety of signage options with a range of messages. Our mesh options are perfect for busy highways where wind resistance is key, while our reflective options are preferable for nighttime work activities.

We recommend roll-up signs for your construction and roadway environments. MDI® roll-up signs are easy to set up—they also self-adjust.


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Hi-Vis Vests:

A question you may face in a number of work environments is, “How well can others see me?” Wearing the proper amount of hi-vis apparel AND choosing the right color can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

One thing to keep in mind is the amount of hi-vis material covering the piece of apparel. The difference between Class 2 and Class 3 hi-vis wear is that Class 3 simply has more background material and reflective striping than Class 2. For liability reasons, many safety professionals have made it standard to outfit their workers in Class 3 garments.

Color of the PPE is a second factor you’ll want to consider. If workers are working around a number of orange barrels or cones, you may want to consider equipping them with lime hi-vis vests (or vice versa if they are working around a lot of lime colored products). This ensures workers stand out from cones and barrels. In addition, vests are also produced with both lime and orange hi-vis colors—this can be a good option depending on the type of work environment.

Our Direct Safety® line of products includes a wide selection of affordably-priced hi-vis PPE. Ergodyne® is also a preferred vendor of hi-vis wear.


Related: Learn more about Hi-Vis safety vests and their features in our recent article, or you can shop hi-vis vests on our site.


Chain Visual Barriers:

Plastic chains act as a visual warning barrier for construction sites and other outdoor work zones. Chains can hook onto cones and create a barrier or designate a safe work area. When used with stanchions or chain connector clips, you can create an effective crowd control barrier and/or warning barrier for pedestrian safety. The stanchions and magnet ring/carabiner kit are for use inside or outside. Mr. Chain®, a Conney supplier, offers and extensive selection of plastic chain options, ranging in a multitude of colors and lengths.


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Indoor Traffic Safety:

Outdoor traffic safety items are also popularly used indoors in warehouses and industrial work zones. Traffic cones and cone bars can be used to set up an inexpensive temporary barrier around hazardous or controlled areas indoors. Many companies have also made it standard practice for hi-vis PPE to be worn at all times in their warehouse and indoor manufacturing environments. We encourage you to take this on as a common routine in your facility.

In addition, plastic chains act as an effective visual warning barrier for industrial aisles, loading docks, and more. It is a cost-effective tool for creating an effective, high-visibility obstacle indoors.


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